Dementia: Twelve Hours To Go

I started thinking about this blog half an hour ago: exactly 12 hours before a Specialist Doctor will be here for a home visit.  The last time she was here she conducted an ACE-111 Test , diagnosed mixed dementia, and discharged Maureen from the Memory Service. Over a year later she is wearing a different hat working for the Home Treatment Team.

We had a lovely day together yesterday despite the  late arrival of the carer.  I have registered my concerns about that matter and they will be resolved within formal processes.  What happened yesterday was symptomatic of general problems within the Care Agency and need to be resolved in the interest of clients.

Yesterday morning when the carer arrived  I popped out to buy some basic requirements.  Maureen seemed to accept my need to go out but my reception when I returned with my haul was far from warm.  It was the familiar ‘why are you leaving me with carers while you go out?’  I have asked the social worker to explore these feelings of desertion with Maureen when she makes a home visit on Thursday.

When we went to bed at 8.30 last night I  got the cold shoulder once again.  We had been having another lovely musical evening singing along to vinyl for a couple of hours.  Once upstairs I set myself up in our bed while Maureen continued with her night-time routine.  When she returned from the bathroom she posed ‘where do the girls sleep’ and went on to make it clear that there needed to be separate sleeping quarters.

I need to return here to my  Admiral Nurse’s assertion about triggers in the behaviour of someone who has dementia.   It is not surprising that Maureen resents me leaving her with carers: her life-line is deserting her.  She also knows that husbands are not always faithful when they are out of sight, from bitter personal experience and our affair.

The separate sleeping arrangements have three possible triggers.  Firstly, it is something she grew up with. Her dad had epilepsy and her mum was frightened of his lack of control if he had a fit in the night, so they slept in separate rooms.   Then she has experienced domestic violence in her first marriage with continual fears about what might happen to her when her husband returned from the pub.  She also heard groups of men in the Independent Care Facility speculating on the prospect of being able to tell confused ladies they were their husbands and join them in bed.  Little wonder that she often wants a bedroom to herself and keeps the door firmly closed

All of the above is speculation and if I have not found the triggers they are there somewhere.  Something is behind significant changes in Maureen’s presentation:  it is reassuring that the Home Treatment Team will not put it all down to the progression of dementia.

As I finish this post I think I’d better see how Maureen is as I haven’t heard a sound from her for ten hours.  I hope I’m able to open her bedroom door without frightening her.  Thank goodness for that she is sleeping peacefully.  I need to sort out that monitor as soon as possible so I can hear what is going on when she is in another room.

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About Remember Me

I am a retired adult educator. My wife had a stroke in February 2014 and now has mixed dementia. Her recovery from stroke has been exceptional apart from 50% loss of peripheral vision and vascular damage. 'Dharma For Dementia' is my approach to being Maureem's Care Partner: it aims to end the suffering of 'Prescribed Disengagement' (Swaffer) .
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